Cast: Dhanush, Kajol, Amala Paul
Director: Soundarya Rajinikanth
Rating: 1.5 Stars
It is probable that crucial bits of VIP 2: Lalkar, the Hindi-language avatar of the follow-up to the 2014 Tamil hit Vellaiilla Pattadhari, have been lost in translation. Even if that weren’t the case, there wouldn’t be much to ferret out, in terms of substance, from the Soundarya Rajinikanth-directed comedy-drama about a young,
Nothing wrong per se with that plot outline. It’s just the breathless, slapdash manner in which the potboiler pans out that renders large swathes of the film utterly disorienting. For the most part, VIP 2 is like a rudderless ship caught in a raging storm. The ear-splitting background score, a veritable gale force by itself, has the impact of howling winds.
Vellaillai Pattadhari translates as ‘unemployed graduate’. In Hindi, abbreviation stands for ‘Vella Important Person’, which, for the principal antagonist who can’t stand the sight of her bete noire, becomes ‘Vella Idiotic Person’. As is pretty obvious, the wordplay is unapologetically rudimentary. VIP 2 isn’t set in Mumbai, yet references to Andheri and Vashi creep into exchanges between two of its characters, locational veracity be damned.
Semantic subtlety certainly isn’t the strong suit here. Although its intention is to be rooted in the real world, the film takes massive liberties with logic and psychological conformity. Its characters are etched via very broad strokes and the situations they encounter abound in inconsistencies. The laboured attempts to deliver comic relief, too, fall flat.
VIP 2 banks entirely on the star power of lead actor Dhanush and the novelty of a semi-retired Kajol assuming the persona of a formidable foe. The two actors plunge headlong into their roles and redefine ‘power-packed performance’. They deliver a surfeit of both power and performance but ignore the need to make sense.
Dhanush (also the story and dialogue writer) reprises the role of Raghuvaran. He now has a full-fledged job, a tough-nut wife (Amala Paul) and a reputation in the industry for unconventional, socially conscious ideas. He gets around town on a beat-up moped and takes life one day at a time.
Kajol a super-successful, obnoxiously standoffish construction industry captain, when he spurns a job offer from her company. In true mass hero style, Raghuvaran declares that he’d rather be a cat’s head than a tiger’s tail (meaning that he aspires to launch a small company of his own with the aid of a thousand out-of-work engineers with whom he has already pulled off a slum clearance project and earned a name for himself). But the lady he antagonizes has other ideas. She puts enormous hurdles in his way. How Raghuvaran gets around them forms the crux of the story.
VIP 2 bungs into its two hours and a bit standard messaging pertaining to unemployment, youth alienation, corporate greed, politician-builder skullduggery, environmental scams and ecological disasters waiting to happen. It stretches itself thin with flow-hindering songs, over-the-top action sequences and maudlin moments designed to remind the audience that despite his drinking binges and erratic behaviour, the hero is a quintessential boy next door with his heart in the right place.